School is out so I’m looking for treats that are easy and delicious.  I found a great recipe for granola bars that I decided to try.  It calls for quick oats which led me to research the different types of oats.  All oats start off life as an oat groat.  A groat is simply the whole unbroken grain of oat.  Before being made into any other variety of oat, groats are usually roasted at a very low temperature.  This not only gives the oats their nice toasty flavor, but the heat inactivates the enzyme that causes oats to go rancid.  This makes oats more shelf-stable.

Whole groats are becoming much easier to find these days.  They’re also processed into these common kinds of oats:

Steel-Cut Oats—We get steel-cut oats when the whole groat is split into several pieces.  Simmered with water, steel-cut oats retain much of their shape and make a chewy, nutty-tasting porridge.

Rolled Oats—Whole groats can also be steamed to make them soft and pliable, and then pressed between rollers and dried.  The resulting “rolled oats” re-absorb water and cook much more quickly than whole groats or steel-cut oats.

Old-Fashioned Oats—The source of much confusion, old-fashioned oats are actually the same as rolled oats.  You’ll usually see them called “Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats” on packaging.

Quick or Quick-Cooking Oats—These are oats that have been pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats.  They cook more quickly, but retain less of their texture.

Instant Oats—Pressed even thinner than quick oats, instant oats often break into a coarse powder.  They cook the quickest of all and make a very soft and uniform mush. 

I assumed that the more processed the oat, the less nutrition would remain.  However, Harold McGee in “On Food and Cooking” says that all processed oats have the same nutritional value. This was a surprise to me.  Rainy Day Foods sells a variety of these oats in assorted sizes.  For my recipe I tried the quick oats.  [caption id="attachment_2188" align="alignleft" width="225"] Granola bars[/caption]

Here is the recipe:

Granola Bars

1 cup brown sugar

4 cups quick oats

1 cup light corn syrup

3 cups crisped rice cereal

1 cup peanut butter, creamy

Boil brown sugar and light corn syrup.  Then add peanut butter.  Mix oats and rice cereal together in a large bowl.  Drizzle syrup onto dry mixture.  Stir to mix together.  Press into a buttered cookie sheet.

Note:  I added a ½ cup of chocolate chips as I was pressing the mixture into the cookie sheet.  The whole family loved these and thought they tasted great.  Next time I may try peanut butter chips.

Contributed by Pam Higley Share